The Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) and Women Mediators Across the Commonwealth (WMC) authored this letter to female heads of state on behalf of Afghan colleagues and sisters. The letter requests meetings with political leaders to ensure the protection of Afghan women, specifically with regard to issuing visas for resettlement, safeguarding human rights within country, upholding measures against forced marriage, and the inclusion of Afghan women in dialogue with the Taliban and the delivery of gender-responsive humanitarian aid.
The Feminist Action for Afghanistan (FAA) in which ICAN participates is sending this letter to States, the UN agencies, and INGOs to keep the focus on the priority needs for Afghanistan and to ensure that Afghan women are absolutely present and shaping policy in these critical areas of concern.
The international community needs to take urgent action to ensure Afghan women and girls across all ethnic and religious communities, in urban and rural areas, feel safe and have equal rights and opportunities to a life of dignity, peace, safety and justice.
To achieve this overarching goal, and to ensure that there is no regression in the context of the impending humanitarian crisis, we have stated four key outcomes and offered specific actions by international actors and specific actions by the Taliban.
Given the gendered segregation of society that the Taliban has already instigated, the delivery of aid to women and girls will be even more highly dependent on female Afghan aid workers and local women-led civil society organizations (CSOs). Such organizations have traditionally been the key conduits to reaching the most needy and marginalized sectors of society. They are more essential now.
We have offered 10 practical steps that the UN and other international humanitarian actors can take in designing and implementing their humanitarian response.
We called for the international community to listen to Afghan women peacebuilders.
Our partners risked their own lives to speak at the United Nations, the European Union, the International Criminal Court, in the United States, and elsewhere. They warned of the reality in the Afghan forces, informed the world of needs on the ground, and offered recommendations and practical actions. They repeatedly asked for the chance to negotiate their own fate at the peace tables in Doha and elsewhere. They were never granted such an opportunity. Rather, they were willfully ignored and excluded.
As the future of the Afghan peace process remains uncertain, we must ensure that power sharing based on violence does not become the basis for a political settlement. The inclusion of women must inform the substance of all future talks, as it will give negotiations legitimacy, and increase the chance of peace.
This open letter calls on Friends of Afghanistan and Champions of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda to take concrete action to ensure the systematic presence of the Afghan women peacebuilders in the peace process.